Kanpai! Cheers!

Last weekend I went to a Japanese restaurant in Hamburg and had a Japanese beer there. My favorite Japanese beer is the so-called Asahi beer. It’s pretty popular among young people in Japan. The elderly prefer Kirin beer, though. Any way, it was really good to have a Japanese beer because the weather here in Hamburg right now reminds me of the Japanese summer, with high humidity levels. Japanese beer is perfect for such sweating weather in my opinion.

The Japanese love beer, even if there are many who can’t hold their drink – their cheeks become redder than usual. I think many of them just don’t drink because of this and they are embarrassed to show their red faces in front of people.

According to this Japanese article, the annual average beer consumption per person in the whole world is 49.2 liters. Furthermore, a study from the Kirin Beer Company 2002 revealed the average beer consumption per person in 28 countries: the Czech Republic ranked first with 250 bottles (633ml/bottle), the second and third places were taken by Ireland with 230 bottles and Germany with 192 bottles respectively. Japan was in the 21st place with 86 bottles.

The reason why the Japanese drink much less than the Germans might be explained by the Japanese alcohol tax. It is 45,2 percent, very high in comparison with the German alcohol tax of 20, 4 percent. It also plays a big part in the Japanese tax revenue, so I don’t think that the tax rate will be changed in the future.

Recently, many beer brands with low malt have been launched on the Japanese market to sell more beer at a reasonable price. As beer is taxed according to its malt content, low-malt beer is cheaper. For example, many companies are creating beer using less malt and more soya beans instead, so that the price is lower. This low-malt beer has become more and more popular in Japan. In addition to low-malt beer, there are also many kinds of diet beers brewed in Japan and also imported from foreign countries. By the way, my grandfather’s favorite beer is one of the diet beers from the Netherlands. I think such a beer is an alternative to usual beer, and also healthier and cheaper.


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